It took me many years to begin paying attention to American football.
I thought it was arrogant, that as it is with baseball a country could play a game against itself and then declare itself world champions.
As a Jamaican through and through, I took umbrage with a country that did not really give respect to the unifying game of soccer, a game that is played universally.
In addition to that, the United States never bothered with cricket. My beloved cricket!.….….…yea, I have a problem with that.
Cricket is played all across the globe, the West Indies, which dominated during the time I was coming of age. Many Nations fielded a national cricket team and today even more nations are fielding national cricket teams.
The West Indies, England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe, now even Ireland and Afghanistan have International cricket teams.
The United States does not. I thought there was a certain degree of snootiness and arrogance in the United States’ decision, not to bother playing a popular game played by the rest of the world, but to create a competing game, play among itself, and then declare itself world champion. choosing to play baseball over cricket and to invent its own football game that no one else played rather than joining the rest of the world in soccer.
Since then it is important to note that the United States has fielded a national soccer team, still, no national cricket team.
But that is hardly my point, after much urging from friends I reluctantly willed myself to begin understanding American football.
The more I watched and learned the more fascinated I became with it, even though I will admit, I still do not believe that it requires any social skills perse.
Sure, it helps to be big, fast, and to possess the ability to jump high, throw a football far, or be built lion a tank to block a runner from the other team or to stop a mad rush against your own quarterback, etc.
But I still believe that a talented cricketer, tennis player, or golfer, or a soccer player is a far different talent than that which is required to play in the (NFL). The National Football League.
Despite my initial disdain for football, I grew to love the game, and became a big fan. I watched every down that I could, even though I really did not cheer for any particular team, outside of my cursory interest in the New York Giants and Jets, both of which are based in New Jersey. And of course, I hated the New England Patriots.
After a few years, I could not wait for the new season to begin, and then Colin Kaepernick kneeled against police violence and racism in the society, and all hell broke loose.
The ignorant racist & divider- in-chief saw an opening and he stirred up the other ignoramuses.
The divider-in-chief found in the event, a means to [diss the sons-of bitches](sic) [otherwise called black men], and so he ran with it.
As dumb as he is, he is not too dumb to recognize that white America hates black men, and that by dissing them, he was solidifying his hold on them.
The reaction by the NFL not to stand up with Trump’s racist assault, not to mention his mass of deplorable racialists was too much for me. How could the NFL not stand with its players?
What is the NFL without its 70% of black players? How could a company not stand by its product?
Yes.…..dammit, I said [product] that is what the black players are on that plantation.
The Home Depot founder has decided to keep supporting Donald Trump from what I read, but the company itself is trying to distance itself from its own founder. They know black people buy from Home Depot too.
So they are moving away from their bigoted founder, they want to continue selling lumber, paints, and everything they sell, but the NFL refused to stand up with its products, its black players.
For me, that was a bridge too far.
The blacklisting of Kap, and the resultant distraction about not respecting the flag or the anthem, was a diversion from what police are doing.
For my part, it was enough for me to take a stand. My decision never to watch another pass thrown unless Kap was rehired or compensated, may not have registered on the (NFL-o-meter), but it gave me a sense of power, and an adrenaline rush to know that in my own little way I was standing with Kap and the other players who were putting their careers in jeopardy on the NFL plantation.
Now Drew Breeze, Roger Goodell, and others are pretending that they are finally understanding what Colin Kaepernick and his colleagues were saying after the protests the George Floyd lynching ignited across the globe.
What I found remarkable was that so many of my brothers, who are victims themselves of American racism, had indicated to me that giving up watching NFL games was too much.…“I have to watch my games”… they tell me!
I thought it sad, that so many of my brothers and sisters are unwilling to sacrifice anything toward their own emancipation. Even after so many who have gone on before us have sacrificed so much and have enjoyed none of the benefits we are enjoying today all things considered.
Every damn one of those racists bastards who continued to insist that kneeling when the national anthem was being played was some kind of disrespect to the flag, and country, knew fully well that it had nothing to do with either.
And even if it was disrespect toward one or the other, why would black people bow down to a country that has never respected their right to exist as full human beings, much less an anthem that celebrates their degradation?
When Black people stand up for their rights their oppressors have no choice but to back up and take notice. Will this uprising open the eyes of black people in America enough for them to realize they have their future in their own hands? I have no way of knowing. Nevertheless, I see statutes of an ugly past tumbling. I see new legislation being proposed, I see old safeguards against accountability being torn away and I see those who enjoyed blanket immunity from prosecution lashing out.
More than all, I see NASCAR banning the Confederate flag from its events.
That is huge.……Will I ever watch another NFL game?
Maybe.….….It all depends on what the league does going forward.
The moral of the story is that as the most abused people across the globe, we must change some things about ourselves.
That means, we must be willing to sacrifice a little, no matter how small.
Yes, black folks, if you are not watching football on your television it [does]make a difference. Neilsen reporting on who is watching what, is one way determine that when we chose not to watch we are making a difference.
When we turn the television off all together we make an even bigger difference because the cable companies also do not stand with us.
The other thing is the importance of buying from black businesses, and ensuring that if you experience poor service not to argue that you were correct in not supporting black businesses because of an isolated incident. Tell the management of your experience and ask that it be corrected.
After all, you are spending your money with people who hate you. They treat us with disdain and contempt, yet you spend your money with them anyway.
A simple google search will tell you the mega-corporations that are supporting white supremacy. In many cases, they give huge sums of money to right-wing causes and support Republican candidates.
It is time that we realize that freedom is never free, that every generation has to fight for it, or lose it.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.